NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

August 23, 2013

Bonded by humor

Asperger's Are Us comedy troupe to perform in Port tomorrow

(Continued)

They have been performing together for about three years, during which their popularity has grown significantly. Asperger’s Are Us has presented shows in Massachusetts, New York and Vermont and last year was featured in the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival in Texas.

Ideas for the troupe’s comedy sketches come from a variety of places, Hanke said, from jokes made during their weekly get-togethers to things that happen in daily life. For example, Hanke said he was walking down the street one day when he noticed that his phone was almost out of power. That led to a sketch about a phone literally dying.

“We have very similar mind-sets,” Hanke said. “All of our interactions are sprinkled with word play. We’re just so naturally verbose. That gives rise to the material.”

This weekend’s shows will be the biggest they’ve ever done, with “dozens and dozens of characters,” a number of costume changes, and special effects, Hanke said. Most of the material will be brand-new to fans of the troupe.

The first half of the performance will consist of a normal sketch show, while the second half will feature “Super Hero Palace,” a parody of superhero shows that includes characters like Literate Man, Condescending Man and Bare Man. It’s actually a stage adaptation of a television show that the four spent last summer writing and rehearsing.

Lehmann will be there to shoot both shows, and he will also be there on Monday, when Hanke departs for England. That is likely where the documentary will end, with a glimpse at what’s next for the four men.

Once he finishes the editing, Lehmann will take the film to festivals and look for a distributor to put in theaters and/or online.

“To me, it’s not just about Asperger’s, it’s about getting to know these guys as individuals,” he said. “It’s also about adolescence, and a lot happens in your life in a short amount of time at that age.”

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